Though I won’t write about a land I am officially forbidden to visit on my own (see my recent post), I will write a bit about the pull to travel, to explore, to move that
we humans many humans have.
Some don’t, I know; some people are homebodies; they don’t hear that siren song. But many, like me, love to travel.
What is that pull? That itch?
How can I explain this inexplicable sense that there is more to know, more to understand, more to experience, more to this world than what is in our own backyard?
How to understand the curiosity that pulls us, seduces us to move, to learn, to experience?
This kind of traveling involves packing, suitcases, stuff. What we pack says alot about who we are. Think about that for a moment. What do we think is important to have?
It took me about three days after my arrival to realize I hadn’t packed for this recent trip at all well. For two weeks, with no laundry facilities I cared to visit, I had packed one pair of shorts, one pair of culottes, two T-shirts, one dress-up dress, a few scarfs, and a serape.
And lots of stuff to giveaway.
While there and struggling some with what to wear on the ninth and tenth days, I thought about those who travel with no suitcase.
We call them refugees, immigrants, asylees, and asylum seekers.
We’ve all got migrations in our ancestry, starting with that big one a million or so years ago when our ancestors left Africa. Fast forward a million years and we get to the various waves of immigrants that have helped build the gene pool that is modern-day America.
Three hundred eighty-eight thousand came in chains, an important reminder of the evil that mankind is capable of imposing.
Many more felt compelled to come. Whether it was the desire to start anew, to have opportunities not available to them in their own homeland, or simply the romance of the unknown, they left all they knew, all that was familiar to them and set off. Many brought suitcases too.
For others, it wasn’t much of a choice. Famine, religious persecution, political unrest, and violence are among the myriad external forces that have pushed people away, sending them off to foreign shores, the U. S. among them.
They arrived, for the most part, with only the clothes they wore and the hope that this country offered them a safer, freer, better life.
That brings us to today when more than 500,000 children and adults are living in detention facilities across the country. You’ve read about them, heard about them no doubt in the news. Many are denied entry and sent back across the border immediately. But others are allowed in, only to be “detained” in private prisons and community jails while they wait their court hearing. This can take years.
They don’t need to spend it sitting in a jail. They could be living in a home, in a community while they work their way through the legal system.
All they need to be released is a sponsor willing to take financial responsibility for them while they go through the legal hoops to become an asylee (aka, a refugee).
And I”m pleased to be able to announce that communities across the country are rising up saying, “Enough” and sponsoring these asylum seekers. Perhaps your community is one.
Would you welcome an asylum seeking family into your community? What fears might you have if you learned one was about to move in down the street from you?
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